SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A natural gas explosion in one of New England's biggest cities on Friday destroyed two buildings but didn't kill anyone, authorities said.
Firefighters and gas company workers were among more than a dozen injured people, they said.
The explosion in a downtown area of Springfield, 90 miles west of Boston, blew out all windows in a three-block radius, leaving three more buildings damaged beyond repair and prompting emergency workers to evacuate a six-story apartment building that was buckling.
Police Sgt. John Delaney said it looks as though there was a missile strike where the explosion leveled the multistory building at its epicenter.
Officials at two nearby hospitals said a total of 16 victims were transported with injuries but none was critical.
Firefighters responded to the scene at 4:20 p.m. and were investigating a gas leak when the blast happened shortly after 5 p.m.
The explosion, in an area of downtown Springfield with commercial properties and residences, destroyed a building that housed a Scores Gentlemen's Club.
Area resident Wayne Davis, who lives a block away, said he felt his apartment building shake.
"I was laying down in bed, and I started feeling the building shaking and creaking," he said.
The Navy veteran said the boom from the explosion was louder than anything he'd ever heard, including the sound of a jet landing on an aircraft carrier.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.